Tuesday, December 10, 2013

the teatards are working to consolidate control of school district revenue streams and enrich their cronies, period


kcstar | Some lawmakers and teachers’ union leaders on Monday called for Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro’s resignation, citing a report in The Star of emails showing a questionable bid process and development of plans for Kansas City Public Schools without the district’s knowledge.

But state school board President Peter Herschend said people are reacting to a planning process for Kansas City that is still evolving and has been — and will be — the responsibility of the state board.

The board has urged the commissioner and the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to bring swift change to the state’s unaccredited school districts, including Kansas City, Herschend said in a prepared statement. This is a time for conversation, he said.

“Some groups are fighting even suggestions of change,” he said. “We ask you that you reserve judgment before any plan has been formulated or even ideas discussed.”

The emails showed a collaboration among Nicastro, the Kauffman and Hall Family foundations and the Indianapolis-based CEE-Trust research group starting in April to prepare a proposal for a new school system for Kansas City.

The records also described a bidding process that gave the work contract to CEE-Trust in August after it had already been working with the state and the foundations.

Eight Democratic lawmakers in a written statement accused Nicastro of abusing her power and asked the state school board to open an internal investigation of the bidding process.

State Sen. Paul LeVota and state Rep. Genise Montecillo of St. Louis County, who have challenged Nicastro previously, were joined Monday by state representatives Reps. Bonnaye Mims of Kansas City, Judy Morgan of Kansas City, Ira Anders of Independence, John Mayfield of Independence and Joe Runions of Grandview, and state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal of St. Louis County.

“It is imperative that she resign immediately as state education commissioner or, if she fails to do so, be removed from her post by the Missouri State Board of Education,” the statement read.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who was asked about Nicastro during a news conference Monday in Fulton, Mo., said that it was a good time for the state Board of Education to “monitor and evaluate” concerns raised about her, The Associated Press reported.

In his statement, Herschend said the board ultimately chose CEE-Trust, agreeing with the department that CEE-Trust was “the clear choice for conducting analyses and making recommendations for transforming Kansas City Public Schools.”

The process was “open and competitive,” he said.